Sunday, 27 October 2013


I've always been fascinated by 'wild' food. Way before all the TV programmes and websites dedicated to it. See previous post re chestnuts, our garden also had hazelnuts. When we were not building dens in our back garden we were out exploring local woodland. Thanks to the likes of The Famous Five we made it a game to 'live off the land'. More than likely just a handful of blackberries and some stolen apples. I say stolen, lying outside the property on the grass, but it felt like stealing hence we didn't hang about for long!

So M and I went back to the crab apple tree that we found tucked away in a corner of the village. No-one else seems to be in a rush to make crab apple jelly so we filled a basket with roughly the amount we needed, leaving plenty for the birds.

We spent a while removing stalks and that tufty bit on the bottom and then simmered them until they were soft and pulpy. There's no need to cut them up because they split easily when cooked. Well ours did, maybe bigger ones would need cutting in half. (We reckon ours are Golden Hornet but we could be wrong). A jam bag would have been handy at this point but we made do with the muslin square we had from making marmalade last year and suspended it over a sieve over a pan (don't squeeze or the jam will end up cloudy). It made a surprising amount of juice.

Add seven parts sugar to ten parts juice and keep on a rolling boil, removing scum, until it thickens. Then keep testing it on the back of a cold spoon. This is never an exact science and we may have erred in the side if caution here and left it a tad longer than necessary (nothing worse than runny jam).

We halved the recipe given on the BBC Good Food website and used 2kg of fruit. This made three large jars. Tested for breakfast by M...

...and announced a big success. So three big jars of jam for the price of 1kg of sugar, about 50p per 600g. That was fun.

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